Intimate Conversation with Lonz Cook
From warrior to romance. Lonz Cook is a Marine Corps veteran of 20 years and the author of numerous romance novels. He's a screen writer, an Adjunct Professor of Management, and a technology specialist.
BPM: Tell us about your most recent work? Is this book available on Nook and Kindle?
Online dating is how a large number of people find their mates these days. It’s like a phenomenon on how different things happen on a social basis. Rarely are people introduced in person or found by attending a club or function as the major means of meeting. A Cyber Affair is a story of two people who find each other online, and begin the process of dating. How they share their journey is the story.
BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
One thing I love about Tiffany and Manny is they are real people. You know, your neighbor, a friend of a friend, or simply a person you work with. Tiffany isn’t a beauty queen though she is attractive and Manny isn’t the typical obnoxious millionaire with a garage of boy toys to impress. These are common day to day middle-class people.
These characters have normal problems like dealing with divorce or working to recreate family connections. Tiffany is divorced and strict about her dating selection, working a real 9-5 and minding her business at exploring dating websites with a purpose.
Manny is a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer, rebuilding a relationship with his daughter and going through career withdrawals while defining his future. He’s the reflection of a high intense career to the mundane factory day to day job.
BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
Online dating is a real situation where people are taking a chance with cyber space reality. I spoke to a number of people who experienced the good, bad, and ugly with online dating. The inspiration came as I heard stories of success and wondered how they arrived to make all the decisions to become united with a new mate.
When I explored online dating, words simply jumped onto the page and before long there was a story worth telling. Online dating is relevant more so than attending a jazz festival in Spring. It’s the way of change and since so many are personally involved, it captures a part of our social behavior.
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Showing the relevance of online interactions was one of the most enjoyable things I created with this book. Social media is our major means of maintaining relationships or creating friendships and opportunities for love. In the process of staying connected, I too ventured with curiosity onto dating sites, simply to answer a lot of questions with my friends and provide accuracy in writing this novel. What I have learned online is amazing and having experienced the multitude of behaviors ranging from abnormal to shocking was eye opening. And I mean shocking!!! I had to share the extremes.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
I get ideas from observing people and their behavior. Or I get ideas from a conversation where a situation portrays the best scenario for a good realistic story. You know, like mother-daughter relationships where there is a hate-love vibe between them. Or how love prevails after years of separation because of distance or illness. Or how a married couple rarely converses at dinner in a restaurant and have levels of contentment ooze through their body language. These concepts are character driven because there’s a lot of stories based on behaviors and my mind to create unique situations. What if scenarios that seem like reality.
There are times I create a plot simply to make the characters come alive. I do this because it’s about behavior in situations. I love to write common behavior where they address issues based on reality, especially where the heart is concerned.
BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
In this particular novel, A Cyber Affair, I’d say yes to under-represented groups. We, as a people, aren’t aware of the hardships a military person endures with family. The servicemen and women often fail at marriage and parenting because of deployments or operational commitments. These conversations aren’t common to the general public. What most see on the surface is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the challenges servicemen face between career and family.
Second I’d say under-represented are the military kids who deal with battling parents. Or should I say the child who loves both parents but caught in the middle? In this novel, you’ll find Suzie, Manny’s daughter doing her best to support her father and enjoy their relationship, in spite of mom.
BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or journey?
Since I’m a romance writer, every page is part of me in a sense. I practice what I write to ensure the story has a realistic accuracy that pulls readers into scenes. I travel to various locations to give readers the feeling of being in the room or venue because I describe the environment well enough for the imagery to match.
Being a retired Marine, I saw the deployment cringe where marriages fought a good fight but didn’t have the endurance to win. I write about behavior and since I’m observant on all levels, I tend to keep the journey realistic. I’m a writer and writing is my first love and food for my spirit.
BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
The education about online dating is amazing. I had heard of the term Catfish but never really understood it’s meaning. But with the depth of deception a number of people doing, it’s pretty concerning. This is where I had learned that a lot of people are not being themselves. And it’s both genders.
Second, I used a different technique while maintaining my voice. I typically have a lot of things moving outside of the antagonist and protagonist. But this time, I wrote with minimal secondary stories. I was more specific to the two major characters’ views.
BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
This is a difficult question but I’ll do my best to answer without embarrassing a new friend or contact.
I talked to a friend who met her lover online and when they finally met in person she ran. I mean physically ran because through all of the online video chats, she never saw his height. His being tall turned her off. In her words, she had perceptions of size being a serious matter and it scared the life out of her.
I talked to another lady who got engaged over the internet. I mean literally accepted the commitment. I asked her how and she answered that the connection between them was amazing. She never saw him, outside of pictures, no video calls, no cell phone calls, they simply shared hours of chatting online. She took this engagement very seriously and before she sent thousands of dollars, she asked someone to validate his story. She had a divine intervention because she found out the true meaning of a catfish first hand. Her story was amazing at how she kept accepting excuses based on her need. A dangerously developed behavior for some women.
BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book? How well do you feel you achieved them?
Since A Cyber Affair is relevant to current dating, and the way our social changes have been modified in finding a mate, I expect this novel to make a difference. I want people to pay attention to prospects with online dating. My expectation is this book aids in showing how two people can meet and date while being entertainment and become an enjoyable conversation piece. Will it become a bestseller? I can’t honestly say it will, however, it’s always a dream to have one.
BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
A Cyber Affair has a back story character that took a life of its own. I’m currently working on a story titled, A Loss Too Great, which is a spinoff. Also, I’m editing the sequel to When Love Evolves, one of the Sisters and Romance box sets. This should be out either in the fall or early winter of 2017.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Find me at www.LonzCook.net, WarriortoRomance on Facebook, Lonzcook on Twitter, Lonzcook on Wordpress, Lonzcook on Periscope and Lonzcook on Pinterest and Instagram.
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